Countries unite to defy Trump climate threat

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, Marrakech

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image captionProtesters at the climate meeting in Marrakech were calling for greater action to keep global temperatures under two degrees Celsius

Delegates from more than 190 countries meeting in Marrakech have issued an urgent call for action to tackle climate change.

The Marrakech Action Proclamation calls for the highest political commitment to fight global warming

It is being seen as the united response of countries to the threat of president-elect Donald Trump to pull the US out of the landmark agreement.

Campaigners say it shows the strength of the global consensus on the issue.

The promise by Mr Trump to "cancel" the Paris Agreement and end financial support for international climate action has galvanised the countries meeting here in Morocco.

The Marrakech Action Proclamation sees 197 parties assert their belief that the world is warming at an unprecedented rate.

Every country, it says, has an "urgent duty to respond".

"This year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora," the document says.

"This momentum is irreversible."

"It is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.

"Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum, together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts."

image captionUS Secretary of State John Kerry made an impassioned speech at the conference calling for global unity on tackling rising temperatures

Aware that current plans submitted by countries are not enough to keep the world from dangerous levels of warming, the proclamation calls for an urgent increase of ambitions on cutting carbon.

"It's rare that so many heads of state unite to make a public declaration on any policy subject," said Mohammed Adow from campaign group Christian Aid.

"This demonstrates just what a global consensus there now is around climate change and underlines the determination of world leaders that they will not let the election of Donald Trump hijack the important work being done to secure the safe future of our planet."

While the document doesn't mention the US or Mr Trump by name there is no doubting the clarity of the message.

Getting so many countries to agree rapidly on a common position in such a short period of time is a measure of the concern that the international community feels in relation to the US president-elect.

But whether it will give him pause for thought, or embolden his actions on climate change, remains to be seen.

"It just goes to show how serious countries are about getting on with their climate action plans in order to protect their economies and their people," said Liz Gallagher from the E3G climate think-tank.

"It was a touching moment of solidarity after a bruising week."

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